Thursday, January 6, 2011

A COLD DAY IN PARADISE - Steve Hamilton

First line: "I stood in a cheap motel room just inside the Soo city limits at 2:30 a.m., looking down at a man who had died that night, a man who had seemingly lost every ounce of blood from his body."

Having discovered Steve Hamilton through one of my favorite reads of 2010, THE LOCK ARTIST, I absolutely had to go back and read his backlist. Lucky for me, Brilliance Audio is putting it out on audiobooks now.

In Steve Hamilton’s first novel, he introduces readers to Alex McKnight, a former minor league baseball player, former Detroit cop. A devastating shoot-out that left his partner dead and Alex with a bullet in his chest drives McKnight back home to Paradise, Michigan where he runs a hunting camp and does a little private eye work on the side.

When McKnight’s friend calls him in the middle of the night for help, Alex finds himself in the thick of a murder investigation that seems to be connected to the man who killed his partner. The only problem with that theory is the fact that the murderer is locked up in a maximum security prison.

Readers, like me, who are late arriving at Hamilton’s McKnight series are in for a treat. There’s humor, there’s drama, there’s crime, and there’s love. Just the right amount of each. And every time you think you have it figured out, Hamilton will jerk the rug out from under you. I loved everything about this book, but because of the plot twists, I didn’t realize that until the very end.

Hamilton’s characters are rich and layered. McKnight’s internal demons add an extra dimension to an already complex detective novel. I may have been late to this party, but in the case of Hamilton’s Alex McKnight, I say it’s far better to be late than never to experience it at all. I look forward to catching up on this series.

Dan John Miller narrated A COLD DAY IN PARADISE with a tone that seemed to expertly compliment Hamilton's damaged character. McKnight's passion and pain came through in a natural sound. At points in the narrative when Hamilton had me completely snowed, I was chastising McKnight as though it was truly him speaking to me through the speakers of my audio player. This is an audio that easily pulls you into the world of Alex McKnight and Paradise, Michigan. One that dims the lights and turns the temperature way down without you even realizing it.

A COLD DAY IN PARADISE is available in audio from Brilliance (ISBN: 978-1441817426). It was originally published in print by Minotaur (ISBN: 978-0312192488) and is available in mass market paperback from St. Martin's Press (ISBN: 978-0312969196). A COLD DAY IN PARADISE was the recipient of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel.

6 comments:

Paul January 6, 2011 at 9:15 AM  

You're never too late for Hamilton, Jen!

Best,

Paul Hochman
St. Martin's Press

pattinase (abbott) January 6, 2011 at 2:21 PM  

One of my favorite books.

Holly West January 6, 2011 at 5:36 PM  

Thanks for this review, Jen. I went to your site looking for audio book recommendations for our 12 hour car trip back to Southern California and this was the very first post I saw. I'm getting it!

Jan Long January 6, 2011 at 7:56 PM  

Two small quibbles...

Alex rents cabins, and they are sometimes rented to hunters, but he doesn't run a hunting camp.

The line quoted above is actually from Chapter Two. Chapter One begins, "There is a bullet in my chest, less than a centimeter from my heart. I don't think about it much anymore."

This is my favorite series, so I tend to be a bit anal about it. :)

Jen Forbus January 6, 2011 at 8:06 PM  

Thanks for your comment Jan. I listened to this on audio, so referred to Amazon for the opening line and didn't pay attention that it took me to CH. 2 instead of CH.1 for the "Opening Pages."

As for the cabins, I was also conferring with others on that one. Both Dick Adler and Publisher's Weekly refer to it as a hunting camp. Not really of any significance to this plot, but I guess many people interpret it that way from this first book.

le0pard13 January 20, 2011 at 9:35 PM  

I got to listen to this one! Thanks, Jen.

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